The world has reached peak apocalypse mode over concerns related to the coronavirus. Whether perception or reality, it’s a thing.
And that thing has now threatened American sporting events. Italy is on lock-down and soccer matches are being played without live crowds. The paranoia has arrived here in the United States, too.
While the NBA hasn’t floated out the extreme measure of canceling games, it is being discussed behind closed doors. The league did roll out a new protocol for players and reporters to limit contact. Locker rooms are closed to the media and there must be a six-foot barrier during interviews. Get ready for the zombies.
“I’m just following the lead of people that are in the know, I concede it is a different course for sure,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters, via PhillyVoice. “Personally, I am fascinated by the whole thing, but as it relates to our job and what we’re able to do or not able to do, it hasn’t reached a stage [where] I feel it’s impeding our ability to prepare or coach or whatever yet.”
Sixers Won’t Cancel Wednesday’s Home Game
The Sixers return home on Wednesday night after a lengthy West Coast swing where they went 1-3 against California teams.
It was a disappointing stretch but they were down three starters: Josh Richardson, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons. Now they come back to Philadelphia amid growing concerns over the coronavirus meltdown.
The City of Philadelphia held a press conference on Tuesday advising residents not to attend “large gatherings” of 5,000 or more people. It doesn’t take a genius to note that the Wells Fargo Center holds nearly 20,000 fans. As the NBA continues to wrestle with a league-wide policy, the Sixers aren’t canceling any games right now. The team will continue to “monitor the situation,” per Philly Voice, and take the appropriate next steps.
“We are aware of the recommendation offered today by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health,” a Sixers team official told Kyle Neubeck, “which included no mandates to postpone or cancel events, so there are no changes to our game schedule at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation, in coordination with the NBA and Wells Fargo Center.”
Josh Richardson Clears Concussion Protocol
On the positive side of things, Josh Richardson has cleared the league’s concussion protocol and plans to return to the lineup on Wednesday. The Sixers shooting guard has been out since March 1 when he collided with teammate Alec Burks. He only played 10 minutes in that game before exiting with a nose contusion and concussion.
Richardson, who came over in the Jimmy Butler trade, had been enjoying a productive season in Philadelphia. He is averaging 13.9 points and 3.1 assists in 30.7 minutes per game. The 26-year-old is anxious to get back out on the court and out the bizarre head injury behind him.
“It’s just been weird,” Richardson said, via Philly Voice. “Last few days there has been some headaches and that’s what has been worrying me, but hopefully, it’s over with or close to it.”
Of course, the way he phrased that doesn’t seem to indicate he’s fully healed. If Richardson is still experiencing headaches, then that could be a problem.